Friday, June 30, 2017

Family by Diane Burton

Our family is here. Most of it. DIL and Toddler Girl flew in last night. Son and the dogs should be here by the 4th. Four hours in a car seat on a plane is too much for a 2-year-old. She did the only thing toddlers are good of at—she slept. Mom had to wake her up to get off the plane. And she was not happy about it.

I’m thrilled they are here. For the past month, Hubs has been baby-proofing the house. Mind you, my kids are in their forties, so it’s been a long time since I’ve caught my fingers in drawers because of the catches.

Toddler Girl gets all shy every time we meet her. (She does the same with her other grandparents who see her every week.) By the time we ate dinner, though, she was sitting on my lap. At bedtime, she sat next to Hubs for a story.

This will be the easy transition. When Son comes, it will be vastly different. They have big dogs. BIG dogs. A 150 pound Great Dane and a 75 pound Lab. (The reason Son is driving.) Our homeowners’ association doesn’t allow fences. So, we’re going to have to figure out how the dogs are going to do their business. Or, as Daughter says, they will have to figure it out. I’m trying not to stress over the dogs. I love dogs. We just haven’t had one for over ten years.

Life sure does change. There’s one thing I’ve learned through the years is how to deal with change. Keep calm, go with the flow. Since I figured that out, I’m calmer and don’t let the curves life throws get me stressed out.

Several people who’ve had boomerang kids have given me all kinds of advice. Considering our experience living with Son and DIL each time we’ve visited, I know we’ll work things out as we go. My other grandkids can’t wait to see Toddler Girl. I’m sure we’ll get a visitor today. The other kid is at camp and doesn’t come home until tomorrow. I imagine she’ll beg her folks to come here first before going home. LOL

This summer will be fun with lots of changes. I may not get a lot of writing done. But spending time with the kiddies is more important.

When I’m not playing with the grandkids, I’m writing another space adventure, the fourth book in my Outer Rim series. I’ll be back here on the 30th of July; on Paranormal Romantics on the 13th; and on my own blog every weekend where I share snippets from one of my books.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

What Makes a Hero? by Mackenzie Crowne

Like many authors, I write what I know and I have solid ideas about what makes a hero. At the top of my list of hero characteristics is strength, or perhaps a better word would be toughness. Not that that trait doesn’t have its drawbacks. Believe me, it’s not always comfortable to be attracted to a tough guy. I know this because I will have been married to one for 34 years next week, but hey, tough guys do it for me. 

If my father were still alive, he’d tell you he always knew I’d marry one. I know this because he told me so as we waited in the vestibule of that church 34 years ago just before Dad walked me down the isle. He wasn't a tough guy by anyone's standards, but he was a strong man, witnessed by the day he picked up a baseball bat and attempted to track down the guy who attacked me in a town park when I was thirteen. Thank God we didn't find him that day, because I have no doubt my fun-loving father, who never lifted a violent hand, would have crushed the cretin’s skull for preying on his little girl if we had.

That’s what strong men do. They act when action is required and they fight for those they love. It’s in their genes. Some women like their men that way. It’s in their genes. I’m one of them. As a strong woman who knows her worth, I need a strong man who won’t crumble beneath my confidence. I appreciate a man who sees my feminine confidence as a strength rather than a symptom of PMS. And I like a man who is willing to go after something he wants, especially when that something is me. I like a man who is willing to stand up for what he believes. A man who speaks his mind and is willing to die for me, even if I don’t deserve it.

The man I’m describing has faults, as do I. He gets angry, like me, but when the dust settles, he apologizes if he’s in the wrong. Sure, he has definite beliefs and isn’t afraid to voice them, but he also listens. He’s a guy. He’s quite often wrong, but he’ll never let you down when you really need him. That’s the man I married. Not perfect, certainly, but dependable as a Timex. I’d trust him with my life, and do.

I write what I know and because I want my heroines as happy as I have been all these years, I give them similar heroes. Unfortunately, an occasional reviewer disagrees. I recall one who trashed one of my heroes as a scary violent guy because he was pissed at the heroine and said so. Mind you, I don’t do violence in my romances, so I can't help wondering what this particular reviewer’s perfect hero looks like. For that matter, what type of men is she dealing with in her life? Are they so perfect, or docile, they never have a moment of anger? If so, she should probably watch out. Either they’re in love with their sister, haven’t come out of the closet yet, or they’re conning her royally. I have yet to meet a man, or woman for that matter, who doesn’t lash out in anger in times of conflict, and if you’re reading a romance…hello, conflict is essential.

The truth is, as in real life, no hero or heroine is perfect, but we all have our tastes. What qualities are necessary in your perfect hero and are there ever deal-breaker traits that make you toss the book aside, or worse, trash the book in a review?

When Mac isn’t hissing at stupid reviewers, she spends her time weaving HEAs for her tough guy heroes and their ladies, like Wyatt and Piper, the hero and heroine of To Win Her Smile, the last in her Players series from Kensington releasing 7/18/17 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Enjoying Research by Betsy Ashton

If you're old enough to remember card catalogs at the library, congratulations. You're an old person, just like me. They were cool. You could flip though, looking for a single book, for example, and find a dozen more through serendipity.

Research today is so much more fun. Take yesterday as an example. I was fact checking a virus for a story. I wanted to be sure I understood how Hantavirus was transmitted. I knew it was called Navajo Flu. Whaa? What's this about Korea? It was named for a river in South Korea. I had no idea, but hey, I love Korean food, especially kimchi, the hotter the better.

Back to the Hantavirus post. Genome? blah-di-blah. Couldn't understand anything. There it was, method of transmission. Inhaled rodent feces and urine. Ya right, like I'm going to have my characters crawl around on the ground sniffing mouse droppings like powdered cocaine.

Hantavirus is carried by rodents and shrews. Shrews? You mean my mother-in-law could be a carrier. Apart from being a terrible cook, here's another reason not to visit.

Rethink Hantavirus. What's equally scary? I need something to strike fear in my protagonist's heart. What's that? Yersinia pestis? It's Gram-negativerod-shaped coccobacillus, a facultative anaerobic organism that can infect humans via the oriental rat flea. All I understood in that sentence was oriental rat flea. I live in Virginia. I don't think oriental rat fleas are prevalent. I read further. Plague??? What the hell! It's plague. Bubonic plague plus a couple of others. That I could work with. But, wait. That requires a nearly total rewrite of the story. Not going to happen.

Dump that. No plague. Back to Hantavirus. Found in the Southwest. Love Navajo jewelry. Went to research squash blossom necklaces. Whaa? They were influenced by Spanish pants buttons. Really. Also by buttons worn by Mexican caballeros. So, Pancho Villa? We don't need no stinking buttons, or something like that.

By now I'm so far from where I started that I'm not sure what the original question was. I was having too much fun learning all about new things. I looked at the clock. Where the heck had an hour gone? A whole hour wasted running down rabbit holes instead of stopping with snorting mouse poop.Oh well, I checked the fact. It's solid.

And now I need to figure out what kinds of poisonous snakes are in North America. See you later. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Who hit her deadline?

Oh, yeah. This chick, that's who.

I wrote 20,000 words in 3 days, and yes, I hit my deadline. I wrote "The End" on June 13.

I spent a week doing my tedious "over-used words" edit and pared off 3,000 words, so I'm now at 124,000 words. I started in late January, finished mid-June and in there I had a few weeks where I really couldn't get much writing done. I'll pare off another 1-2 words when I do my real edit later this year. I'll let it sit for at least 3-5 months before I go back and re-read it.

Now I'm picking up all the stuff I postponed while I was writing: promo, figuring out conference plans, considering what to do with a book whose rights were returned to me. I'm also doing a bit of reading. I normally don't read any fiction while I'm writing, so this is my chance to sneak in a few books. I usually read outside my genre, so I'll read a Regency book, maybe a thriller. I've discovered the joy of downloading library books to my tablet and reading them that way. So easy!

And I'm working, tentatively, on a new story. It came to me totally out of the blue, but I think it has potential. Quite unlike anything I've done so it's all very tentative right now. I'll decide in a day or two if it has enough to merit a full-time effort. I usually write a mystery in the July-November timeframe, so it's time for me to pick out my next victim (so to speak).

For the next few days, though, it's kick back and relax a bit and work my way through the To-Do list. It's a luxurious feeling to have so much free time ... but that story is percolating in the back of my mind and I may need to do something about it.


Saturday, June 24, 2017

The P Word by Brenda Whiteside

There have been a few of us Roses that have written about promotion and how we attack it. Mine has been on again off again, but no real plan. I tried to make a plan for books three and four in the series, but I didn't totally follow through. I get involved writing the next book or have some family interference and promotion falls away. With the completion of book five, I've decided to give a promotion plan another shot.

My goal is to concentrate on promotion for July and August. I've studied what some others have done, studied all the notes I've kept on the subject for the last year, and investigated several avenues. The goal is to find a few good avenues that readers use to find the books they choose. These are the top 10 ways I plan to promo.

1) Post on my blog five times a month, post twice a month right here on the Roses of Prose, and guest once a month at other sites.
2) Upload all my books on for a six month period.
3) Post everyday on my Facebook author page which also goes to Twitter.
4) Tweet twice a day, five days a week on my Twitter page.
5) Place ads three times a month on The Romance Reviews.
6) Advertise/take part in promos on The Romance Studio
7) Do a July promo with N N Light and possibly one in August
8) Advertise on Amazon for the month of July
9) Do an Amazon giveaway for the month of August

10) AND my biggest expenditure, if they will have me, is Bookbub. Once I have a release date for
the fifth book, The Deep Well of Love and Murder, I will attempt to get a book, with a reduced price, listed on Bookbub.

I'm still trying to decide the best way to utilize Facebook in addition to staying active with posts.

If after these efforts, I don't see an appreciable rise in sales, I'll go back to my old mode of operation...write as often as I can and not fret about having the time to do promo.

I've heard so many times over the last ten years that the best promotion an author can do is write the next book. But someone has to let the readers know I write. That's my plan for the next couple of months. I'll report back in at the end of my experiment.
RONE Finalist

Visit Brenda at
She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at
She blogs about life’s latest adventure on her personal blog

Friday, June 23, 2017

Believe In Miracles!! by Margo Hoornstra

Do you believe in miracles? I sure do. To illustrate, I’ll need to take you back a bit in my Roses of Prose posts. What follows is one I put up here in May of 2016.


My birthday was earlier this month. All in all, it was a pretty good day. The kids called with plans for a week end party, my husband bought me a sentimental card and took me out to a very nice dinner. Then he dropped a bombshell I wasn’t expecting. He wanted to buy me flowers, specifically a plant. I didn’t know what to say. Not because I was necessarily touched by his thoughtfulness, although there is that. The fact is, I was truly rendered speechless in an – oh, no, not again sort of way.

You see, I’m horrible with plants. Saying I have a brown or even black thumb doesn’t begin to do justice to the malady that afflicts me. Plants in my care have no chance of survival. Zero. None. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

They may as well shrivel up and die before they even arrive at my house because, try as I might, that will ultimately be their fate. After so many years my husband knows this and yet he insisted. What else could I do but graciously accept? So off we went to find a suitable sacrifice…uh…specimen.

After some offers I absolutely had to refuse – temperamental African Violets, (it makes me shudder to even thing about raising those); fragile Boston Ferns, (the kind my mother used to grow en masse by the way) nope. Finally we settled on a Calla Lily. I had heard of them. This one was purple, my favorite color and seemed to be reasonably healthy (for now, anyway). ‘Indirect sunlight, moderately moist soil and 60 to 70 degree temperatures’ to quote the full color instruction stick. The one which, by the way, also sported the picture of an entire, beautiful bouquet.

Easy enough, don’t you think? For normal plant growers, I suppose. Of which I am not one. 

What’s indirect sunlight exactly? Either the sun’s shining down or it isn’t. Sun beams don’t shine from the side, do they? I mean, the sun would have to leave its position in the sky to do that, which isn’t going to happen. Sunlight, direct or not, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of middle ground on the issue. Sounds to me a little like being somewhat pregnant. Either you are or you aren’t. Again no middle ground.

The only thing for sure I could surmise was that direct sunlight was probably not good.

But back to the fate of the innocent little plant of mine. The center of our living room, aka away from any and all windows seemed to be as indirect, sunlight wise, as one could get. This is where I set my treasure. Then I made sure the soil was moist, even added some extra water because we were going out of town for a few days. Just to be sure said soil really did remain ‘moderately moist’ while we were gone. When we returned, the leaves were getting a little pale, yellow even. Not only that, water sat, yes sat, about a half an inch deep, in the pan underneath the pot. Could this be the beginning of the inevitable end? Apparently my idea of moderately moist and their idea of moderately moist were two completely different moderately moists. We, that tiny instruction stick and I, had something else we couldn’t agree on.

In addition to that whole direct and indirect sunlight thing.

**heavy sigh**

At any rate, I’m trying to reform; I’m letting the poor thing dry out a little and moved it from the center of the living room to a shelf near a window in my office. A little closer to a window, but far enough away, I hope, from any and all direct sunbeams.

Fingers crossed these new arrangements will prove to be beneficial. Please send positive thoughts our way and wish both of us luck. Here’s hoping I can at least grow one measly little plant.


That was then, this is now.

As it turned out, the poor little Calla Lily didn’t survive. I watched with appropriate angst as its poor little leaves shriveled to nothing. Heartbroken, I carried its pot with dirt intact, out to the garage with the intention to use it someday, maybe, for some other form of foliage unlucky enough to fall into my hands.

Fast forward a year, and then some. Taking a deep breath, I decided to plant some double petunias for the summer. Nothing fancy, I’d just put a few in an assortment of unused flower pots I had on hand from previous endeavors. As I foraged in the garage the other day for appropriate receptacles, I noticed a grey plastic pot sitting on top of the refrigerator out there behind a cardboard box.

Lifting it down, I discovered the miracle I mentioned up top. That Calla Lily I’d taken for dead was ALIVE! Just look at it now!

Talk about thriving on benign neglect. I have no clue how this happened, but I’ll take it. No flowers yet, either. Those will no doubt take some time.

Right now, I'm simply basking in this bonafide evidence of a miracle. And enjoying every minute.

My days to blog here are the 11th and 23rd. For more about me and the stories I write, please visit my WEBSITE

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wedding Tales Part II - The Dress ~ By Leah St. James

You might remember I blogged a couple months back about my younger son’s upcoming wedding, my anxieties about the mother-son dance, etc. Well, I’ve moved on to new anxieties--THE MOG (mother of the groom) DRESS.

When my son and his future bride first got engaged and I started thinking about what to wear, I had thought to get a nice fancy dress, but not a gown. Then the MOB (mother of the bride) said to me, “Oh, this is going to be a formal wedding. Of course you should get a gown.” Then my sister (herself a MOG several years back) advised me it was protocol to wait for the MOB to choose her gown. As the MOB, apparently a more honored position, she gets first dibs on color, style...whatever.

So I waited, and every so often I checked with the MOB. After about six months, she had purchased three gowns and couldn’t decide which to wear. So I waited some more. Finally she told me to just buy what I wanted. She didn’t care. Relief! Time to go shopping.

Off I went with my sister and close friend to a New Jersey mall that has a Macy’s, a Lord & Taylor and a couple other higher-end department stores. After spending a couple hours, traipsing through four department stores and trying on about 15 gowns, I came away empty-handed. But I did have the names/tag numbers of a couple gowns we really liked but couldn’t find in the right size or color.

Speaking of color...there aren’t a lot of options in gowns for women of a certain age (who might want to cover up, for example, the fleshy part of the arm!). I found black, navy or other shades of blue, champagne and pewter. I could have found more at a bridal salon, but those aren’t cheap, and I had no intention of spending $300 on a dress (plus alterations). Yes, it’s my son’s wedding, but I’d rather give the money to them than spend it on a dress. Besides, no one will be looking at me...except for that minute or so in the mother-son dance...

Anyway, back home I spent hours online searching for those few I had liked, but again came up empty. I found a site that had gorgeous gowns in lots of colors and decent prices, but it was in Hong Kong. I kept trying to figure out how I’d return the dang thing if I needed to...shipping to Asia probably meant a lot of money, maybe customs forms and who know what else. Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

Finally, with less than three months before the big event, I asked the bride-to-be to go shopping with me. That day we set out for a nice mall with a good variety of department stores--a Macy’s, JC Penney’s, Nordstrom, Dillard’s...I forget what else. Several hours, four stores and about 20 more gowns tried on later, I came away with an Adrianna Pappell (I love her stuff), and it was on SALE at Dillard's! Yes. 

(To review, it took the bride one visit, one shop and about six tries to find her dream wedding gown.

Me, the MOG?...Two states, eight department stores and 30-35 try-ons. Might have been more. After a while they all started to blur into one gown...)

But it was worth it. I LOVE this gown. It makes me feel wonderful. It makes me feel like I’m half my I still have some va-va-va-voom left. I tried it on for hubby when I got home and he said, in typical hubby fashion, “Well, I guess you better not gain any weight.”


Moments later he clarified with,“You look FABULOUS,” and then eyeballed the cleavage. (Maybe I do still have it!)

As for now, the gown is safely (I hope anyway!) in the alterations shop for hemming at a perfect length to show off the new bling-y shoes I bought. They have three-and-a-quarter-inch heels. Even if I only wear them for the church and that minute or so during the mother-son dance, I’ll enjoy every minute.

This wedding thing is starting to feel real!


Leah writes stories of mystery and romance, good and evil and the power of love. After all this wedding prep, she’s starting to dream up wedding stories. Who knows, they might actually make it into a book at some point. Learn more at or visit her on Facebook. She loves visitors!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Goal setting by Barbara Edwards

Glacier National Park

The only way to accomplish anything is to set a goal. Authors know about goals. We set them constantly to reach the final goal of a finished manuscript.

What must you do?
Shanondoah Valley

Set a finish date and figure out how many pages must be written daily to reach that number by that date.

This is my big failing. I don’t have a finish date so I fiddle around, do research, read a book, whatever.

I need to be tough with myself.

I need to make myself work.

With this decision in mind, I made an editor appointment at National. I need to have a finished manuscript to pitch. Well, I do have one, but I’m not happy with it.
Niagra Falls

I want to have another done and it is in the pipe. I’m typing daily, planning to have two manuscripts ready as well as the ones I have in partials.

The importance of goal setting crossed my mind because I did accomplish a ‘bucket list’ goal.

My husband and I have visited all 50 states. Yes, 50. It took us over twenty years, but we are excited and pleased. 

Now on to the next one. I think visiting all the National Parks is next. Only 160+. 

Please follow, friend or like me. I love to hear from my readers.

Amazon Author’s Page

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New Release Coming

An icy she-vamp and a red-hot human detective make for an explosive combination.

The fourth book and climatic ending of the Blautsauger's of Amber Heights Series is coming out soon. To lead up to the actual release date (still to be determined) I thought I'd start by sharing a few teasers. 

Dr. Michaela Blautsauger, a Nosferatu vampire, is considered an expert in her field of work. However, her skills when it comes to dealing with others and showing emotion is almost non-existent. When Detective Seth Whitehead barges into her lab, she discovers the human is just as interesting as the blood formula she is working on.
Seth's tenacity to find who is committing crimes in Amber Heights pits him against vampire aristocracy as well as Toltec vamps who are nasty to say the least. When the she-vamp he is falling heart over fangs for leaves the country to find the blood plant she needs, he follows and discovers his cold hearted vamp truly has a heart.

When they both fall into Toltec hands, Seth knows he will do anything he has to do to keep Michaela from suffering harm. But will he be able to keep his own life in the process?

Bonus for reading my books. Win some swag.
Correctly answer the question below, and it will put your name into a drawing. The prize is a set of 4 coffee mugs featuring the cover art from all the books in the Blautsauger's of Amber Height Series.

Why did Andris Blautsauger name his four children
Gabe, Michaela, Metta, and Rafe?
A) they were named after Priests at the seminary he attended
B) they were named for the angels of prayer
C) he hoped giving his children religious names would save his soul.
D) to spite their mother for turning him into a vampire without his consent.

Answer this next question for a set of coasters featuring my book covers:

What does it mean to be stunted?

A) have a practical joke played on you
B) the runt of a litter
C) left partially turned from human to vampire
D) vampire born without normal vampire traits such as speed, strength, acute vision and hearing

The last question is for a tote bag featuring the cover art from the soon to be released Cold Hearted Vampire. 

What kind of vampire is Vincent Sabriento?
A) Toltec vampire
B) Nosferatu vampire
C) Sol Vampire
D) Ch'ich pak' vampire

Email your answers to  with 'contest' in the subject line. I'll draw 3 names on 6/25. That gives everyone 5 days to join the fun.
Best of luck
author of vampire/romance
Connect with me or find buy links for my books at